NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visited Sweden Monday and said the Nordic country has taken steps to meet Turkey’s demands for approving Stockholm’s NATO membership.
Turkey has objected to Sweden and Finland joining NATO over their alleged ties to the PKK, a Kurdish militant group Ankara considers a terrorist organization, and due to export controls the Nordic countries placed on Turkey in 2019.
Stoltenberg said Sweden has taken steps to amend its counterterrorism laws and adjust export controls. “I welcome that Sweden has already started to change its counterterrorism legislation and that Sweden will ensure that the legal framework for arms export will reflect the future status as a NATO member with new commitments to allies,” Stoltenberg said.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said her country is working on strengthening its counterterrorism laws. “From the first of July we will also have even stronger legislation when it comes to the fight against terrorism,” she said.
In May, Swedish and Finnish delegations met with Turkish officials in Ankara. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the Nordic countries were handed their security demands in writing at the meeting, and that it would require the Nordic nations to amend their laws.
While Sweden appears to be changing its laws, a deal Andersson’s government made in parliament last week to survive a no-confidence vote against its justice minister may complicate its efforts to meet Turkey’s demands.
To survive the vote, Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats needed the support of Amineh Kakabaveh, an independent MP of Kurdish-Iranian heritage. Kakabaveh voted with the government and said afterward that the Social Democrats agreed not to cave to Turkey’s demands regarding the Kurds and reaffirmed support for a resolution passed last November that called for cooperation with the Democratic Union Party, which is considered the Syrian affiliate of the PKK.